The biggest news was that the city is going to keep the fire station open, and may possibly add more emergency equipment to the site. There's a complete article in the Star this morning. The folks at BRVA also talked, during the news conference, about fundraising efforts toward beautification in the Village, ie, the new street scape for Broad Ripple Avenue and efforts of the BRVA to purchase a street cleaner to be used on weekends. Joe Boda put links to the news coverage on the main page of warfleigh.net, in the box in the low left corner.
"We really got a picture of what the community needs" through discussions with local business owners and residents, said City-County Councilman Ryan Vaughn. "That's what we need more of: that community discourse."
So, where does the $5 parking fee in the evenings go? I'm assuming it's not
going into buying a street cleaner. Why should BRVA have to pick ip the tab for this service? Also if the 10 cop cars cruised the local 'hood instead of parking on the Ave. at weekends and fined the beer bottle litterers it would pay for cleaning for the whole of Indy.
The $5 parking fees (and sometimes even $10 parking fees!) go to the owners of the parking lots and their agents. The parking lot owners have now all been approached by enterprising folks to "manage" their lots for a fee. These parking lot entrepreneurs then keep whatever additional money they take in after the fee is paid to the landowner. The paid lots have caused much discussion at BRVA meetings in recent weeks, as those people who remember Broad Ripple when it was a friendly, laid back, sharing kind of place aren't happy about having to pay to park. The owners of the properties say they have the right to generate some income on their own personally owned real estate. The companies that manage the parking lots claim that the lots are safer and cleaner, because the parking lot attendants deter crime and pick up trash.
Regarding the police cars you see parked on the Avenue late at night, these are off-duty police officers who have been hired by the bars. Although they are usually in uniform and usually have an IMPD cruiser, they are not there on behalf of the City of Indianapolis, nor are they there on behalf of the Broad Ripple community in general. They are there expressly for the business owners who pay them to keep the peace at their own establishments. That's why the off-duty officers stick close to particular locations. The sad truth is that IMPD does not have the funding or manpower to provide Broad Ripple with an officer or two who would patrol the area for the community at large. We're told that there is only one officer on duty for ALL of IMPD North District late at night. North District covers a huge geographical area.
You are right on target about the fines for litter being capable of funding the cleaning of Broad Ripple streets. In fact, fines could fund all kinds of services. The City could take in a considerable amount of money if it would just enforce the ordinances that are already on the books. I see dozens of laws broken every day and every night -- from trash thrown on the ground, to fliers posted on utility poles, to right turns on red where they are not allowed, to left turns where left turns are prohibited, to parked cars in No Parking zones, to people driving the wrong way on one-way streets, to cars parked on yellow curbs, to jaywalking, to graffiti, and so on. An officer could write dozens of tickets every day and every night. If only our public servants were as vigilant about writing tickets for laws that are broken as the privately-hired parking meter attendants (who are employees of the Denison Parking Co.) are for expired parking meters.
The parking meter "arrangement" is another subject that the BRVA has been raising questions about with the City and not getting much satisfaction. Some people erroneously think the BRVA controls the meters; the BRVA does not. The meters belong to the City of Indianapolis. The City contracts the servicing of the meters to the Denison Parking Co. Broad Ripple is the only neighborhood outside the Downtown area that has parking meters. Many business owners have shared stories about how their customers have been driven away because of the meters, as it's just not worth the hassle to shoppers or diners to try find a parking space, put coins in the meter, and then come out to find they've gotten a ticket anyway for being only 2 or 3 minutes over their time. To make matters worse, not a single dime of the coins collected from the meters, nor a single dollar of the parking tickets written, is returned to Broad Ripple. The money goes into the City's General Fund and gets spent on some other "needier" neighborhoods in town. Our guesstimate is that the parking meters generate several hundred thousand dollars each year. Just a fraction of that amount would easily fund a street cleaning machine for Broad Ripple. It could also pay for an officer or two who are assigned solely to Broad Ripple on weekend nights.
The BRVA continues in its efforts to obtain better services for Broad Ripple. We could use more help on the BRVA Public Safety Committee or the BRVA Land Use & Development Committee, to be a squeaky wheel with the City on these and other such subjects. If anyone in Warfleigh wants to join the effort, please contact the BRVA at 251.2782.